I’ve been a big fan of cossack squats for a few years now. They’re an awesome tool for getting some motion through the hips outside of the normative movements that tend to dominate the sagittal plane. While massive strength improvements and aesthetic development can be made through sagittal plane training, the hip is a ball and socket joint, and only training it like a hinge is a great way to turn your hip into an elbow. Moving outside of that sagittal plane lockdown can be a fantastic way to add in some variety to your programming, but also get some functional carry-over to your other lifts by working muscles and through different movements than they’re used to.
Some of the biggest challenges people have in terms of doing these movements are figuring out how to balance in this new position, and also having the range of motion through their hips and groin to access the movement. Because of this, I usually start people off with a few regressed variations to help improve range of motion and control from a highly supported position.
Going from hands and knees is a good way to assess mobility on these.
Using something as a supportive device can help access the movement in standing, as long as you’re not just hanging back off the straps and making it more of a lat exercise than a lower body movement.
If these are too easy, but you’re not ready to go straight into unsupported, you could try a 4-points cossack by putting your hands on the floor. This is actually a really good mobility drill if you try to keep your hips low during the transfer from one side to the other.
If these are no sweat, you can bust out unsupported bodyweight variations.
After this, we can play with loading in different positions, working on controlled depth, and all sorts of funkiness.
Let’s take one small step towards bullet-proofing the groin of the world with some solid cossack squat work. Give some of these a try and let me know what you think.